Pacific Seasonal Workers Given New Opportunities in Australia

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A new Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) scheme will mean more visa opportunities for workers from the Pacific region in Australia.

An amalgamation of the Pacific Labour Scheme (PLS) and the Seasonal Worker Program (SWP), PALM will give employers easier access to workers with a single application process for the scheme and enable more regions to recruit workers from the Pacific region.

Reforms to the scheme mean the validity period for labour market testing has increased from 6 months to 12 months, recruitment caps for SWP approved employers with a good record and financial capacity have doubled and accommodation businesses like hotels and resorts are now allowed to employ SWP workers.

PLS workers who have spent 3 years in Australia are able to continue working for an additional 12 months while COVID-19 travel restrictions remain in place and COVID-related flexibilities continue, allowing redeployments of workers to other approved employers.

The upper age limit of 45 for workers has been removed completely, allowing anyone over the age of 21 to participate in the scheme.

There will be further reforms to PALM later this year which promise to remove even more hurdles for Australian employers who would like to utilise the seasonal labour market available in the Pacific region.

These reforms are part of the continued economic response to the Covid-19 pandemic and are a good indicator of what regions and which Australian industries will increase recruitment of migrants in 2022.

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